ESPT5_Marbella-622_WINNER_Rodrigo Espinosa

Estrellas Poker Tour (Part 5)

Welcome back to 5th part of the History of Spanish Poker Tour. This is the season that has just finished in Barcelona. Like last year, it featured 4 amazing events in Madrid, Valencia, Pokerstars Marbella Festival and Barcelona.


ESPT 5 Madrid (2014)

A spectacular 5-day festival at Casino Gran Madrid opened ESPT Season 5. It featured 9 events including €2,000 +200 High Roller and €1,000 +100 Main Event.

  • Events – 9
  • Running – January 23-27, 2013
  • Main Event attendance – 632
  • Main Event (in the money) – 72
  • Prizepool – €606,720

Even though official schedule says that the festival ran for 5 days, February 5 to 9, the poker festival actually started a day ago with a €200 Win the Button event. Juan Dominguez was the one to win this one (he also finished 2nd to Thomas Dunwoodie in the same event last year in Pokerstars Marbella Festival).

Then, it was time for the Main Event that again was significantly bigger than the event last year. This year there were 721 entries generating a prizepool of €692,160. Overall, 103 players shared the prizepool.

The final table was led by Spanish players but there was also an international presence. There were five international players at the final table: Sergey Rodin from Russia, Christopher Brown from Switzerland, Nuno Capucho from Portugal, Rajmond Stabbekoom from Netherlands and probably the most experienced player at the final table, Heinz Traut from Germany.

It was an exciting final table with a deal that was agreed upon three handed. As you can see below, Victor Antoranz sealed the win that was only second cash in his career (the first was for €600 in 2010). This time he took home slightly more – €97,363.

Here are the Top 15 payouts of the ESPT Madrid:

season 5 madrid


ESPT 5 Valencia (2014)

Has ESPT Valencia reached its limit? Maybe not, but for the first time an ESPT event has shrunk in a year. Nevertheless, it was still an amazing poker festival.

  • Events – 8
  • Running – April 3-7, 2013
  • Main Event attendance – 483
  • Main Event (in the money) – 56
  • Prizepool – €463,680

ESPT 5 Valencia ran for 5 days, April 2-6 and featured 8 events. Again, the festival started with a €150 Win the Button event with 68 entries. The amazing thing was it was won by an ESPT regular, Swede Michael Bartov who actually won another event the next day, €150+ 15 No Limit Holdem with 73 entries and finished 3rd in the €250 +25 PLO Double Chance the day after that. An impressive run, right?

€1,000 +100 ESPT 5 Valencia Main Event kicked off on April 2 with 414 players from 30 countries. They generated a prizepool of €397,440 with 55 players sharing it.

Final table was a diverse one, to say the least. Most players like Vicente Sierra, Haritz Doyharzábal, Amir Farhangi, Benjamin Garcia, Pedro Raventos and Raul Alonso were guaranteed to make their first live cash. Others, like Fabio Sperling, Jordi Alfonso and Jose Martinez were experienced players with final table finishes under their belts.

And as you would expect, experience prevailed. Two most experienced Fabio Sperling and Jordi Alfonso reached heads-up stage with the German player finishing on top. Sperling took the tile and €77,000 for his efforts while Alfonso also won a career-high €48,800.

Here are the Top 15 payouts of the event:

season 5 valencia

All in all, it was another fantastic poker festival from Pokerstars. But the fact that is shrank will probably require some amendments in strategy and planning, though. What will be result of that we are yet to see next year, in ESPT6 Valencia.


Pokerstars Marbella Festival

ESPT Valencia was not the only event that saw a reduction in player pool. A joint-festival between UKIPT and ESPT in Marbella also saw a decrease in attendance. However, a tiny one. The festival ran June 9-15, 2014.

  • Events – 8
  • Running – June 12-16, 2013
  • Main Event attendance – 750
  • Main Event (in the money) – 88
  • Prizepool – €732,480

Not to worry. The actual attendance decrease was pretty minor. For example, the difference in Main Event attendance was only 13. And all the events stayed the same including Win the Button that kicked off the festival, €2,000 +200 High Roller, €300 Marbella Poker Cup and 5 others.

€1,000 +100 UKIPT/ESPT Main Event attracted 750 players that generated a massive €750,000 prizepool. 111 of them finished in the money with €136,000 up top.

The final table of the festival was truly spectacular. It was international (5 countries represented) and included some big names like Sam Grafton and Jake Cody, both well-known online and live.

Unfortunately for the pros, they were first to be eliminated while Spain’s Rodrigo Espinosa and Germany’s Christian Bauer reached the top. Bauer has had dozens of cashes but never won while Espinosa had only cashed 3 times in his career but has won a live tournament before, Partouche Poker Million €500 +50. This time luck was not on Bauer’s side and in the end it was Espinosa who was lifting his second career trophy.

Here are the Top 15 payouts of the event:

season 5 marbella

ESPT 5 Barcelona

And finally, the last event of the ESPT season came back to Barcelona. A combined ESPT/EPT festival was held August 16-21, 2014 and just like you would expect, broke the attendance records again.

  • Events – 31
  • Running – August 16-21, 2014
  • Main Event attendance – 2,560
  • Main Event (in the money) – 383
  • Prizepool – €2,483,200

The festival that featured 31 events in total kicked off with €1,000 +100 Estrellas Main Event. For the first time in ESPT history the prizepool exceeded €2 million and the Main Event player pool exceeded 2,000 players. No wonder it’s the tournament everyone is waiting for.

The whole tournament was full of surprises, but the final table was nothing less than remarkable. First, there were two very well-known players at the final table – Simon Hemsworth and Andrew Chen. Hemsworht came 4th in chips but saw no luck and was the first to be eliminated.

Next it was time to go for another mid-stacks Bela Toth from Hungary and Spain’s last hope, Daniel Barriocanal that came 3rd in chips. Andrew Chen’s final table was a bumpy one but he managed to outlast 3 players that had more chips than him coming to the final table. But he lost a flip, As10s vs. Donchev’s pocket 2’s and was sent to the rail. After Corinne Bauche, the only final table lady busted in a similar fashion next, AsJd vs. Ruzzi’s pocket 4’s, players decided to make a 4-handed deal that resulted in Donchev locking the lion’s share of the remaining prize with €20,000 left for the eventual winner Ruzzi (after the deal, he was guaranteed €178,550). For Argentinian it was a career-high cash and his first ever career win even though he had already accumulated around $500,000 in live cashes.

Here are the final top 15 payouts of the event:

season 5 barcelona

We hope you enjoyed our ESPT History article series so far. Soon, ESPT season 6 will kick off and as soon as it does, we will be there to give you all the most exciting stories.

espt madrid 2013

Estrellas Poker Tour (Part 4)

Welcome back to 4th part of the ESPT History Series. So far, we walked through 3 amazing ESPT seasons. What started as an annual, 3-event poker tour has rapidly grown to a poker festival with thousands of fans from all over the world. In this part we will explore how ESPT grew in season 4, what where the biggest events, who won them and who took the most cash home.

Estrellas Poker Tour (2013)

ESPT Season 4 was smaller in events, but much more popular by attendance. There were no more stops at Alicante, Malaga, San Sebastian or Ibiza that ESPT has experimented with for a few seasons. In fact, it seems that PokerStars has decided what the best ESPT ingredients are and are not planning to change it anymore.

So, the four events that from now on make an ESPT season are:

  • Madrid
  • Valencia
  • Marbella
  • Barcelona

ESPT 4 Madrid

Three out of four ESPT seasons were opened in Spanish capital Madrid. This year it continued to grow as ESPT Madrid was bigger and richer than on any of the previous years. It was slightly bigger than last year’s event plus, along with the €1,000 +100 Main Event there were 8 side events.

  • Events – 9
  • Running – January 23-27, 2013
  • Main Event attendance – 632
  • Main Event (in the money) – 72
  • Prizepool – €606,720

It has become a tradition to open new ESPT seasons at Grand Casino Madrid. This 4-day festival attracted over 2,000 poker players with 632 of them entering the Main event that generated a massive €606,720. There were a lot of ESPT regulars in the player pool but the festival grew in international attendance as well. And it showed.

When there were two tables remaining in the Main Event, a third of remaining players were not from Spain.

Here are the Top 15 payouts of the ESPT Madrid:

espt s4 e1

As you see, Adrian Mateos Diaz, currently an EPT regular and Spain’s No.1 on Poker Money list, finished on top. Back then, even though it’s not that long ago, it was Diaz’s only third cash. After then his career just skyrocketed with frequent final table appearances and wins all over the world.

But Diaz was not the favorite when the Final table was formed. Not only he was the shortstack at the FT, he had to outlast much more experienced players like Richard Milne from Scotland that already had 8 Final tables under his belt and a €1,500 +150 Irish Open event win and last year’s Final tablist at ESPT San Sebastian Main Event Vicente Delgado Zamorano.

But everybody knows that anything can happen at a poker table. And it did. After a quick double at the start of play, Diaz rapidly rose in ranks and took the title and €103,000. And it seems he never stopped winning since.


ESPT 4 Valencia

Maybe not by much, but Valencia grew as an event as well. For example, last year nearly 400 players entered the Main Event while this year there were 483 entries. It was an amazing event, well-worth repeating annually.

  • Events – 7
  • Running – April 3-7, 2013
  • Main Event attendance – 483
  • Main Event (in the money) – 56
  • Prizepool – €463,680

There was a nice lineup of events prepared for poker players in Valencia. There were 7 side events including a €1,850 + 150 High Roller that kicked off the festival and 6 events ranging from €100 +10 to €300 +30 as well as €250 +25 PLO event.

High Roller event had only 13 entries with 3 places paid. Zamorano, a name you will recognize as Season 3 San Sebastian and Season 4 Madrid final tablist, finished 3rd while German Andre Wagner took the title.

As we mentioned, the Main Event was slightly bigger than last year and generated €463,680 prizepool through 483 entries.

There was no deal at the final table so Daniel Boender, one of two international players at the final table, took home by far the biggest chunk of the promised prizepool – €104,550 that at the time was the second biggest cash prize in ESPT history. And while it’s probably true that Boender is not one of the names you easily recognize, you may know 5th place finisher Renato Almeida, a common EPT face from Portugal who won a €1,000 +100 EPT side event in Madrid in 2012.

Here are the Top 15 payouts of the event:

espt s4 e2

Pokerstars Marbella Festival

For the first time Spain’s biggest poker tour held an amazing event in Marbella that, as we can tell now, will become a regular ESPT stop from now on. First thing you notice about it is its unusual name isn’t it? Neither of other ESPT events is called a Pokerstars Festival, is it?

You want to know why?

  • Events – 8
  • Running – June 12-16, 2013
  • Main Event attendance – 763
  • Main Event (in the money) – 88
  • Prizepool – €732,480

Welcome to Pokerstars Marbella Festival. If you are interested in why it is not called simply ESPT Marbella, here’s why. Marbella is not only an ESPT event. It’s a combined, ESPT-UKIPT Season 4 event. A festival you might say.

Ludovic Geilich, a name you should be familiar with by now, took down the first Marbella Main Event title along with €130,000. If you don’t know him, Geilich is also a 4th place finisher at EPT London Main Event and a EPT €2,000 +200 Side event winner. He made a name for himself with his crazy, aggressive style, that apparently is working for him pretty well. You can often hear

Do you know who did he have to beat to win the title? Pablo Rojas Martinez Del Marmol. Sounds familiar? That’s because he’s the ESPT Season 3 Ibiza event winner. After a deep and long heads-up battle, it all came down to a coin flip. Geilich’s pocket 99’s held against Rojas’s QJ, even though he may have been very optimistic after he saw the flop come K-T-T.

Here are the Top 15 payouts of the event:

espt s4 e3

Top three payouts were decided after a deal with €14,000 and a title left to play. Geilich’s prize became the second biggest ESPT cash but just until the next event in Barcelona where top prize exceeded €200,000.

ESPT 4 Barcelona

After a new ESPT event in Marbella, Pokerstars brought the poker action back to Barcelona. Again, it will close ESPT Season 4 and open doors to the new EPT season. Again, EPT/ESPT Barcelona broke all the attendance expectations and prize pool records.

  • Events – 30
  • Running – August 28-September 1, 2013
  • Main Event attendance – 1,798
  • Main Event (in the money) – 264
  • Prizepool – €1,744,060

Let’s make it clear. This poker festival in Barcelona was the biggest one to date. And it’s not even close. To put it in a perspective, since ESPT Madrid in Season 1 to Season 4 the event has grown from 291 to 632. Main Event attendance in Barcelona has grown from 1037 to 1,798 in one year!

Speaking of ESPT Barcelona, 1,798 players generated a massive €1,744,060 prizepool with 264 players getting paid from €1,320 to prizes exceeding €200,000.

In the end, it all came down to final 8 players including Paul Nunes, Marcelo Ramos Da Fonseca, Lukasz Roczniak and Alfonso Amendola ‘JR’, each with impressive live poker tournament resumes. While Amendola and Roczniak fell consecutively 8th and 7th claiming €29,000 and €41,100, experienced players Nunes and Fonseca went deep.

4-handed players decided to make a deal. Nunes, the chipleader, claimed the biggest slice of the pie – €204,000, Germans Sameeian and Jahn Soenke both got around €157,000 each while shortstack Fonseca guaranteed himself €121,000 with €12,000 left to play for.

After the play resumed, Soenke eliminated Fonseca, took a massive chiplead and held on until the end claiming the title and the remaining €12,000. By the way Nunes’ prize has him in second place on all-time ESPT money list.

Here are the final top 15 payouts of the event:

espt s4 e4

We hope you enjoyed this trip through ESPT Season 4. If you did, please check out part 5 of the series about ESPT Season 5 that, as expected, broke all attendance records again!

Estrellas Poker Tour (Part 3)

As Estrellas Poker Tour started its Season Three it continued to rapidly grow. Even though this season the Main Event buy-in was raised, it didn’t stop it becoming the biggest yet in Estrellas Poker Tour history.

The season kicked off In Madrid, moved to Valencia, Ibiza and San Sebastian while the season’s grand final for the first time was joined with the EPT season launch in Barcelona.


  • Events – 7
  • Running – January 25-29, 2012
  • Main Event attendance – 482
  • Main Event (in the money) – 59
  • Prizepool – €462,720

For the second year in the row the first stop of the season was Madrid. There were 7 scheduled tournaments including the Main Event which had an increased entry fee. So, instead €910 +90. it was now a €1000 +100 event which helped it break the prize pool record despite the fact that there were 16 entries less (482 total) than the last time ESPT was in Madrid (498 total).

The Main Event amassed a €462,720 prize pool with top 59 players getting paid. What’s amazing was that two Pokerstars qualifiers managed to finish in the top 3. Juan Miguel Tome Perez won the tournament title and €70,619 while a German player David Kolmberger finished third to win €65,469. However it was Luis Ramon Rufas Acin who finished runner-up and took down the biggest prize, €88,512 courtesy of a three-way deal made while he was the chip leader.

Here are the top payouts of the Main Event:

s3 madrid



  • Events – 7
  • Running – March 28-April 1, 2012
  • Main Event attendance – 387
  • Main Event (in the money) – 46
  • Prizepool – €372, 520


After a successful event in Madrid, the tour moved east for the first time to Valencia. Among some regular events, there was also a first-time €400 +40 PLO event and of course the €1000 +100 Main event that saw 387 players generating €371,520.

Miguel Angel Rodriguez Bermudez was the one to best the field and take home €76,000. He beat Ruben Gonzalez-Porcel heads-up €58,000.

Here are the top payouts of the Main Event:


Among 7 Spaniards at the final table (as you would expect), there were even two Belgium players Wim Neys and Frederic Van Der Mersch. Next year Neyes managed to bubble final table of Estrellas Main Event in Valencia while Mersch .


  • Events
  • Running – May 16-20, 2012
  • Main Event attendance – 269
  • Main Event (in the money) -
  • Prizepool – €258,240

Instead of ending the season in Ibiza like last year, organizers decided to move Ibiza to May which made it the third stop of the season. That may have resulted to the event not being as popular as expected. The Main Event had relatively low attendance with 7 events overall including €2,000 High Roller.

The €1,100 Main Event saw 269 entries generating a €258,240 prizepool. Lots of already known players as well as future stars attended. 32 players shared the prizepool in this 4-day event with Pablo Martinez Del Marmol ending on top. But only after a 3-way deal between runner-up Frenchman Amaury Legait and Swede Daniel Ericson. As you see below, Legait who was the chip-leader 3-handed took home €50,000 while both the Swede and Spaniard got around €40,000 each.

Here are the top payouts of the Main Event:

s3 ibiza

For Marmol it was the first win of the career but already the 7th Final table. If you are interested more in his results, make sure not to miss Part 4 of the series. Let’s briefly say that he will be making an appearance.


San Sebastian

San Sebastian event nearly became the worst season stops. No, quality wise it was spectacular. But it was far from the most popular ESPT event. In fact, the only reason we said “nearly” was because it repeated the attendance of Ibiza event this season. Overall, both of these events registered 269 Main Event entries that is the second worst result after ESPT Malaga in Season 1 (261 entries). That was the last time San Sebastian or Ibiza were featured in ESPT tour map.

  • Events – 7
  • Running – July 23-29, 2012
  • Main Event attendance – 269
  • Main Event (in the money) – 32
  • Prizepool – €258,240

However, nobody could say it was a bad event. ESPT San Sebastian features 7 events including the €1,000 +100 Main Event. Out of 269 players that paid the entry fee or qualified, Borja Urteaga showed the most heart to claim the title and €65,800. As there was no final table deal, you can see that the payout changes are pretty dramatic what resulted in a dynamic and pretty exciting final table.

Here are the top payouts of the Main Event:

s3 san sebastian

You probably recognize the name Alejandro Barcelo, who finished second for €41,000. That’s right, he is the same player that won ESPT Season 2 Alicante Main Event for €75,800. And he reached money in a couple of ESPT side events, as well. Unfortunately, Barcelo was a little short of winning his second ESPT event.


If there is one event that you could name as a turning point in the ESPT history, it’s definitely ESPT Barcelona. The festival that has never seen more than 500 players in a single event, now saw a flock of several thousand coming to Barcelona with over a thousand players paying €1,000 + 100 fee or qualifying to the Main Event.

  • Events – 36
  • Running – August 15-19, 2012
  • Main Event attendance – 1037
  • Main Event (in the money) – 128
  • Prizepool – €1,004,940

Why has Barcelona triple the attendance? For the first year this is when PokerStars decided to join ESPT and EPT. Now Barcelona is a regular last ESPT event of the season and the first of EPT. This year Dan Smith won €50,000 Super High Roller, Mikalai Pobal won EPT Main Event, Bryn Kenney won €5,000 +200 6max event and of course so much more notable poker players achieved high results.

This time ESPT Barcelona €1,000 +100 Main Event had 1,036 entries including 9 rebuys. Italian Lorenzo Sabato came to the Final Table 3rd in chips but soon grabbed the chiplead that he held till the end. Sabato certainly played well but getting pocket queens 3 times at the final table surely helped. The Italian eliminated Garstick, Llorens, Bernabeu, Svensson and of course, runner-up Andrey Demidov.

Here are the top payouts of the event:


espt barca season 3

That was the end of ESPT Season 3. Make sure to check out Season 4 overview – it was even an even bigger poker festival!

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Pokerstars: the master platform

Pokerstars is the largest online cardroom game in the world with the highest number of registered players. The daily rate of tournaments held on this site is higher than any other of this sort. The first world champion on online poker was also produced from this site that made the kind of game a huge craze among all. It has features and options that are exclusive and are much in demand which is not provided in most of these sites. It has also set the world record for holding the biggest online poker tournament. This formed a huge impetus in this world. The craze went up to such an extent that the site had to be halted after every 20 minutes to prevent server breakdowns.

It offers the largest variety of poker games available online. So players looking for more variety to indulge their fancy in the game choose nothing but this! It also launched a beta of Zoom Poker that gives you the option of changing the opponent after every hand thus making the game more interesting and challenging. The name also forms the headline sponsor for various live poker tours in UK, Asia and America. It also has a TV satellite online that telecast shows and games and tournaments that are held in its site.

A team of poker professional is mastered under this banner that represent its name in world tournaments and games both online and offline. Various sports and movie personalities form a part of the team, adding an extra blitz of stardom to it. This holds the common mass interest tagging in with the site. It has a worldwide network accommodating players and holding games and tournaments that have no counts. Its commercial success is ever rising. It enjoys a celebrity status in the world of online poker game.

For anyone who wants to experience the aura of the game, the site to begin with would be this. Same is for a professional or an expert in the field. Greatest variety, heaviest name, unfailing guarantee and an easy access make it a number one choice for any poker player. It provides you the luxury and thrill of playing poker being seated at home which is no less than what is experienced at the real casinos or cardrooms. When you go for something, why not go for the best?

One should totally indulge in such a thrill at least once in a lifetime. When security and fun is guaranteed at the same time and at the same place, why delay? Without exhausting much of your resources and yet to gain an overwhelming experience of the poker world, register yourself with the site. Be a part of the worldwide craze. Feel the poker-passion in you and discover the poker champion in yourself. The chance is now. So let go of all your “if-s” and “but-s”. Dive into the sea of pokers and shun your skills to be the next Mr.Moneymaker. So people, wear on your poker shoes and join in the party of Pokerstars.


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Poker: A Look at Its History

Gone are the days when poker was only a game for the underground world. This card game is now a mainstream pastime, greatly popularized from casinos big and small, to home parties, and even broadcasted in sports television.

How did it begin though? Well, knowing its history probably won’t help you be a better player. But for curiosity’s sake, let’s talk about the history of poker.

The game’s history, as well as the actual playing cards we know of today, is surrounded by a good deal of theories. That’s owed mostly to the fact that gaming is always present in different cultures in different times of history.

19th Century

R.F. Foster, in his book titled Foster’s Complete Hoyle (1937 ed.), claimed that the game is the Persian card game known before as As Nas. However, some historians specializing in gaming expressed counter-theories that the game is directly derived from As Nas. This is because evidence suggests that the French had a game that resembled poker and it was played in the region where poker was believed to have started. The game was titled poque. This game’s title was likely derived from the Irish word Poca (meaning pocket) or the French word poque, itself derived from the German word pochen, which means “to brag as a bluff” (literally “to knock”).

However, it is still not confirmed whether the game, as we know it today, has its origins with these games with those names. The game is also theorized to have shared roots with primero, a Renaissance game, and also with brelan, another French game. Brag, an English game, is clearly a descendant of brelan. Brag involved bluffing (though bluffing was already a concept known in other games of that time). There is a good possibility that the modern game we know in this age had influences from all these games.

There is a paradigm that disregards these origins completely because they direct their attention on the game’s card play. It is said to be trivial and probably derived from several games or built on general card play principles. Instead, the feature of the game which is unique is in the betting methods which were not present in older games. If this perspective is used, then the game’s origins are way later – estimated to be in the early to mid-18th century. From there, it expanded through travelers of the Mississippi River by the time 1800 arrived. The game is believed to be played in many different formats – using the full deck of 52 cards, including both the straight and stud varieties. The 20-card variant was used when there are only two players – the English commonly practice deck reduction for games of fewer players. The advancement and modifications for the game is related to the historical revolution that also led to the formation of commercial gambling.

Joseph Crowell, an English actor, claims that the game was conducted in New Orleans back in the year 1829 – using a 20-card deck, four players place bets according to who they think has the best hand. In the book by Jonathan H. Green, titled An Exposure to the Arts and Miseries of Gambling, the game’s spread from the said place was explained – the whole country got exposed to the game via riverboats traveling Mississippi. The travelers commonly pass time with gambling. From the Mississippi river, the game reached the Wild West at the time of the gold rush. The game is believed to be a component within the frontier pioneer ethos.

This expansion is followed by the use of the full deck (52 cards) and the introduction of the flush. Before 1850, the draw was added as it had its first printed mention in a handbook for games. When the American Civil War came, several additions came such as the straight and 5-card stud. More innovations came including the introduction of the wild card (estimated around 1875), the split-pot format, lowball, along with community card game variations.

20th Century

During the 1970s, the game saw a number of developments that pushed it towards popularity. In 1970, the World Series of Poker was introduced that led to the popularity of modern tournament play in casinos around America. These early tournaments produced some notable champions like Amarillo Slim, Johnny Moss, Doyle Brunson, Peggy Pearson, and Bobby Baldwin. In the later part of the 1970s, serious strategy guidebooks emerged. The most notable ones include works from Doyle Brunson, Mike Caro, and David Sklansky.

By the time the 1980s came, the game was portrayed widely on pop culture giving it a reputation as a conventional activity for recreation. The most popular example of this is perhaps in Star Trek: The Next Generation, where the senior staff of the crew for the fictional ship gathered in at least 10 episodes for a game as their weekly event.

21st Century

The popularity of the game rose at an unexpectedly high rate in the early 21st century. The major contributor for this is the emergence of online gambling and the hole-card cameras as it turned the game to a spectator sport. People were able to watch the game or join a game from their own homes. Many people followed the broadcast of tournaments, creating a huge business for distributors of both satellite and cable TV. The pro players became celebrities and fans from different parts of the world joined professional tournaments with the objective of at least playing with them. The broadcasting of games also added a new element for the professional players, as they can gain insight from each other’s strategies by watching the games they participated in at a later time.

The tournament fields for the game expanded dramatically starting from the year 2003. Part of that is because of the rise of online qualifiers handing of a prize of a major tournament entry. Chris Moneymaker and Greg Raymer, 2003 and 2004 World Series champions, respectively, entered through online satellite qualifiers.

In October of 2006, UIGEA was passed which caused a dip in the popularity of poker. But, it was only at first, as they continued to grow and as of today, the game is more popular than it was prior to 2003.